Disney has confirmed the closure dates for the Star Tours attractions at Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios, ahead of their transformation to an all-new 3D version.
Star Tours will close at Disneyland on July 27, with Disney's Hollywood Studios' version closing on September 8. The updated version is expected to open in May 2011 at both parks, although Disney is yet to officially confirm this. No announcements have been regarding the Star Tours attractions at Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.
The announcement from Disney comes just 8 days ahead of the start of 2010's Star Wars Weekend events at Disney's Hollywood Studios. As well as a chance to ride Star Tours one last time, the events will feature special parades, shows, autograph sessions with stars and sales of "one-of-a-kind" Star Wars memorabilia.
Another major Star Wars event - Star Wars Celebration V - is also set to take place in Florida next year between August 12-15. Disney has announced a special "Last Tour to Endor" event on August 14 to coincide with celebration and give Star Wars fans a last opportunity to ride the original attraction.
Star Tours has been in place at Disneyland since 1987 and at Disney's Hollywood Studios since 1989. It pioneered the use of flight-simulator technologies in theme park attractions, but in recent years has faced criticism for being outdated. Set in the Star Wars universe and based on a ficticious "intergalactic tours" operator, it sees guests boarding a spacecraft piloted by an android. The "tour" soon goes awry - with the craft getting caught up in a battle between the Rebel Alliance and the evil Galactic Empire.
When the new version - often dubbed "Star Tours 2" - opens, the existing simulator will be replaced by an upgraded 3D version. This will incorporate elements from the more recent Star Wars prequels as well as the original trilogy, as can be seen in the teaser video below which features the pod-racing scene from "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace".
Disney has confirmed that there will physical changes made to the original ride. However, it has not revealed whether this will mean a full replacement of the ride system, or a more subtle re-working along the same lines as 2008's conversion of Universal's Back to the Future simulator into The Simpsons Ride.
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